Cyber security complements efforts to accelerate economic growth

KUALA LUMPUR: Cyber security should become the priority of every nation, especially on matters underlying economic and national security, said Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

The prime minister said as such, it has become one of the government’s main focus areas to complement efforts in accelerating the economic growth of this country.

“It has become an issue which as seen no country can solve it alone as those cyber threats know no borders and become more sophisticated and complicated than ever.

“We cannot escape anymore from emphasising the elements of cyber security in each and every initiative,” he said when launching the Cyber Defence & Security Exhibition and Conference 2021 (Cydes 2021) virtually this morning.

Muhyiddin noted the problem also warrants the government to give serious attention due to the upward trend of cyber incidences and cyber-crime in the past three years.

“Although for the past three years, the volume of losses associated with cyber-crimes seems to be declining, a worrying fact is that the number of cases continues to surge. This only proves that cyber-crimes have indeed become a problem that warrants our serious attention,” he said.

The prime minister said the number of cyber incidences in 2019 reported stood at 3,787 and spiralled to a wary 10 per cent to 4,194 in 2020 and expected to surge further this year in the first quarter where 1,300 cyber incidences have been reported.

Muhyiddin said cyber-crimes have also shown an upward trend and according to the Royal Malaysia Police statistics, the number of cyber-crimes reported in 2019 was 11,875 cases, with RM498 million in terms of losses.

He said last year, the number of cases increased to 14,229, with total losses of RM413 million while in the first quarter of this year, the number of cases reported was 4,327 and the losses involved were RM77 million.

The prime minister said the MyDigital which launched in February this year to encourage all Malaysians to embrace digitalisation and seize opportunities to improve the standard of living, reflects the government’s commitment to improving national resilience in safeguarding the cyber environment.

“To ensure the success of MyDigital, the National Cyber Security Agency (Nacsa), has been given the responsibility to be the lead agency to coordinate and set the standard of all cyber security initiatives under the six clusters of MyDigital.

“I believe that not only Malaysia but all other nations across the world should take this matter seriously,” Muhyiddin said.

He said all the action plans under the Malaysia Cyber Security Strategy (MCSS) 2020-2024 will be aligned with the MyDigital initiatives as key elements to achieve the vision of building a secured, trusted and resilient cyber space.

The prime minister said through MCSS, the government will fortify local capabilities to predict, detect, deter and respond to cyber threats by strengthening cyber security governance, nurturing competent people, supporting best practice processes and deploying effective technologies.

“MCSS has also outlined 113 programmes under its 35 action plans, of which one of them is to organise biennial international conferences and exhibitions, also known as Cydes,” he added.

On Covid-19, Muhyiddin said the pandemic has changed almost everything in people’s lives and thus, embracing digital technology has become a new norm which the speed of dependency on the digital world during this pandemic-induced time has significantly increased beyond expectation.

“With it, new opportunities have been created. Indeed, Covid-19 has accelerated our plans and strategies to enhance digital literacy. Now, more Malaysians are getting themselves involved in e-commerce, our students have become more exposed to online classrooms while the economic and government sectors are relentlessly enhancing efficiency through digitalisation.

“It has become very clear that embracing digital technology is something we cannot do without in order to overcome all those challenges in managing the worst impacts of Covid-19, and to emerge from it, bolder and stronger,” he said.

On Cydes, the Prime Minister said it was a platform to gather all cyber security experts to share their best practices and the latest available technologies and updates.

“It is hoped that this conference will enable us to fight cyber-crimes together, better. In the face of the increasing cyber threats, all of us must work together in sharing our experiences, knowledge and new technologies,” he added.   

Cydes will include the Asean Cybersecurity Forum, 12 MCSS Track Sessions, Cyber Podium, policy dialogues, virtual exhibitions, memorandum and letter of understanding signing ceremonies and discussions involving 30 nations with a total of 2,500 participants.

“I am confident that Cydes will gain prominence as the leading cyber security forum in the Asia Pacific region,” said Muhyiddin. – Bernama